Saturday, August 11, 2012

Beating The Dead Horse

I had nothing better to do and needed to get a fresh post on here, so I decided to update and revise a blog entry I did a few years back about that vaunted institution, the (C)Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, in which I listed who I felt belonged in it (as well as who didn’t).  Since then, a mere handful of my choices were indeed inducted, but the majority of my list remains on the outside looking in, so it’s time for an update, the field of which I’ve expanded from 30 to 35.  Keep in mind, these are all acts that have at least a legitimate chance of making the hall, and I’ve saved my sentimental favorites for the Honorable Mentions. I’ve also tweaked my list of UN-deservees as well, which I will save for a future post…

(In order of deservedness and why)

1)  PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS  I’ve said it a zillions times:  Most underrated Rock band of all-time, period.  They made way better records than the Lovin’ Spoonful, sold more records than the (Young) Rascals and could blow the Beach Boys off ANY stage, yet all those ‘60s contemporaries are in the Hall and the Raiders ain’t (and Spoonful and Rascals being questionable, at best).  This egregious wrong should be righted immediately.
2)  KISS  I think the Hottest Band In The World gets in for their music ALONE, but if not, then you cannot deny the impact this band and its pyrotechnics has had on the way concerts, musicals, sporting events/Super Bowl halftimes, Olympic opening/closing ceremonies, etc., are staged.
3)  THE MOODY BLUES  Even if they never made another album after their first magnificent seven from the ‘60s and ‘70s, they deserve to be in the HOF.  Genesis gets in but the Moodies don’t?  Come on…
4)  RUSH  Thinking-man’s Rock doesn’t have a spot in the Hall?  Please.  These Canucks have been together over 40 years (38 with the "new guy") and can STILL bring it today.  Rush gets snubbed but mindless crap like Velvet Underwear—er uh—Underground gets in?  Please.
5)  DEEP PURPLE  Every bit as influential in the Hard Rock/Metal genre as Led Zeppelin, but DP doesn’t even get a sniff of the HOF.  You’d think they’d get in for “Smoke On The Water” and “Highway Star” alone.  Top-flight musicians all the way ‘round, too (regardless of lineup) and Ian Gillan is one of the greatest Rock wailers of all-time.
6)  MOTORHEAD  Ditto here, in regards to their influence on the bands who followed them.  Metallica said it themselves when they were inducted—without Lemmy & Co., there would be no Metallica.  No Guns ‘N’ Roses, either…
7)  CHICAGO  Quite possibly the horniest Rock band of all-time (musically) and they keep getting ignored by the Hall just because Rolling Stone magazine hated them.  True, Chicago wimped out quite a bit in the ‘80s, but their body of work in the ‘70s is Hall-worthy.  And, oh by the way, FUCK Rolling Stone
8)  GRAND FUNK RAILROAD  We want the Funk!  And that’s all I have to say about that…
9)  CHEAP TRICK  The critics actually LIKED this band, which makes it a mystery why they don’t get considered.  Consistently good on record, and like Rush, are still bringing it today.
10)  DAVE EDMUNDS  One of the greatest re-workers of old-school Rock and Rockabilly music.  It’s not as if he’s a mere cover artist (Linda Ronstadt, atten-SHUN!)—he takes people’s songs and makes them his own, like Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knockin’”, Chuck Berry’s “Dear Dad” and Elvis Costello’s “Girls Talk”, to name three.
11)  THE DOOBIE BROTHERS  Another ‘70s band whose body of work gets dissed by the “Academy” (or whatever they’re called).  NOTE: They get in for the non-Michael McDonald eras only.
12)  STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN  Sentimental choice just because he left us too soon?  Hardly.  This guy was a KILLER guitar player who at times made Clapton look like that clown Esteban by comparison.  SRV should be a no-brainer for the HOF.
13)  THREE DOG NIGHT  The knock on 3DN is they didn’t write their own music.  Yeah, so?  The Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops and Dusty Springfield probably don’t have a single solitary composition amongst them, yet they’re all in (not that they don’t deserve to be).  Another ‘70s hit machine like Chicago that gets ignored…
14)  JIM CROCE  His career was all-too-short, but so was Ritchie Valens' and he's in the Hall.  I think Jim had plenty more rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve (just like “Rapid Roy”) if he had lived.  Totally underrated good-humored songwriter whose influence you can hear in the songs of Jimmy Buffett and John Hiatt.
15)  NICK LOWE  Without Nick, Elvis Costello wouldn’t have gotten far in his career, let alone the Hall.  Lowe’s songs are witty and up until about 1990, he could rock with the best of them.  He’s regressed somewhat in recent years with boring acoustic lounge-lizard type music, but still deserves a spot in Cleveland.
16)  JETHRO TULL  Eclectic, to be sure, but strangely consistent for many years in spite of the charismatic and somewhat flighty Ian Anderson’s revolving-door band personnel policy.
17)  HEART  If nothing else, Heart should get in from a historical perspective for being the first major Rock band led by women, but Ann and Nancy’s music speaks for itself.
18)  THE CARS  Another band the critics just raved about, but like Cheap Trick, aren't in Cleveland.  They didn’t even make my list the first time around, but the more I listen to them, the more impressed I get.  Ric Ocasek always came off as a bit of an arrogant dweeb to me, but his musical sensibilities are spot-on most of the time, in spite of occasionally obtuse lyrics.  And like Rush and Styx, The Cars showed that synthesizers—when used in moderation—are not so abhorrent.
19)  JOHN HIATT  Any man who can successfully work amoebas and porcupines into the same song (“Thing Called Love”) is Hall-worthy!  Only lyricist I know of who ever used the word 'somnambulist', whatever that means.  Easily the most underrated American songwriter of all-time.
20)  JUDAS PRIEST  The beast that is the Priest should’ve gone in the HOF way ahead of Metallica.
21)  PAT BENATAR  Petite on height, but long on lungs—one of the finest female voices in Rock history, hands down.  Extra points for being sexy while remaining classy at the same time, which many of today's female performers fail miserably at.
22)  DIRE STRAITS  Quirky and subtle, but like Tull, strangely consistent.  Most definitely a musician’s band.
23)  STYX  Four triple-platinum albums in a row?  "Mr. Roboto"/Kilroy Was Here notwithstanding, they must have been doing something right.
24)  OZZY OSBOURNE  Already in as a member of Black Sabbath, yes, but for a guy from whom NOTHING was expected when he went solo in 1980, John Michael Osbourne has been a major overachiever and wildly successful.
25)  IRON MAIDEN  Like Priest, should’ve gotten in way before Metallica.  Maiden’s lyrical subject matter can be a bit tedious at times, but the music is killer.
26)  BAD COMPANY  I was never a gi-normous Bad Co. fan, but you can certainly make a case for their consistent body of work in the ‘70s as being Hall-worthy.
27)  JOURNEY  Steve Perry’s flakiness aside, this band ruled the ‘80s, and if you look beyond all the big hits, Journey’s “B-stuff” on their albums (“People And Places”, “Walks Like A Lady”, “Rubicon”, “Lay It Down”, et al) is even better than the “A-stuff”.
28)  R.E.O. SPEEDWAGON  Like Styx, if these Midwesterners were from New York (Billy Joel, anyone?) or California (Eagles, anyone?), they’d probably already be in the Hall.  You can’t tell me there’s no East Coast bias in music similar to the one ESPN has in sports.
29)  THE GO-GO’S  Like Heart, they get in for historical reasons, if nothing else.  An all-female band who played their own instruments and wrote their own music—that was a Rock ‘N’ Roll first.  And it was pretty good music too...
30)  YES  They actually dropped down a spot in my list, mostly because I’m not all that big on the Prog. Rock era from the ‘70s where you could time some of their cold and interminable songs with a calendar instead of a stopwatch, but Yes did have their moments now and then, and probably should be in.  Oddly enough, my favorite Yes song is one Jon Anderson had no part in—“Run Through The Light” from 1980’s Drama album.
31)  DEF LEPPARD  Joe Elliott’s voice has all the depth of a shot glass, but he somehow made the best of it, and there is no denying this band’s contribution to making people (especially music critics) take Heavy Metal seriously in the mid-‘80s.
32)  SCORPIONS  World-class hard rock/metal outfit that is often overlooked by many dummkopfs (like Rolling Stone).  Achtung, baby!
33)  ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA  As with the Moody Blues before them, ELO successfully integrated strings and other orchestral instruments with Rock sensibility and made it work.  And after all, Whama-lama, bama-lama—Rock ‘N’ Roll IS king…
34)  JEFFERSON STARSHIP  The overrated Jefferson Airplane’s already in the Hall, and I still think that’s questionable.  J. Starship’s stuff was way more consistent and less druggy.  However, their inclusion in the Hall should NOT include anything they did without “Jefferson” in their name (to wit, from “We Built This City” onward…).
35)  THE TURTLES  The Turtles churned out just as many Pop/Rock hits than their ‘60s contemporaries Lovin’ Spoonful did and their songs were WAY better, so how come they don’t rate with the HOF?

Honorable mentions  My sentimental favorites whom I know have absolutely NO shot, but deserve to be in anyway:  The Rainmakers, Black Oak Arkansas, Molly Hatchet, DEVO, Foghat, Divinyls, Barry White, John Entwistle (for his bass playing alone) and The Rutles.